Sandpoint, Wash. to Gain Financial, Retail, Office Complex

Nov. 17--A retail and office complex covering more than four acres and featuring a new financial center is planned for southwest Sandpoint.

Ron Robinson owns the land and is developing the project, which includes a three-story, 18,388-square-foot building that will be anchored by Mountain West Financial Center.

The bank will lease the main floor of the office complex and half of the second floor for a branch, loan operations and administration, said Jon Hippler, CEO of Mountain West Bank.

So far, the developer met with Sandpoint officials and submitted conceptual drawings by Lindquist Architects of Spokane. The project is in the early planning phases and will go through a site plan review before the developer can apply for a building permit, said Joan Bramblee, associate planner for Sandpoint.

Plans for Westpointe Plaza, located at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 2 and Division Street, also show several retail structures, including a 30,000-square-foot building that could become a grocery store.

A grocer would be a welcome addition, Bramblee said, with nearby residential developments, including Forest Park, Northview and Maplewood planning to add nearly 100 condos and homes.

Two smaller buildings, 7,440 and 5,360 square feet in size, are also planned and the developer hopes to secure a restaurant for the complex, Bramblee said.

The overall project is a good fit, Bramblee added, since the land is already zoned for commercial use.

"We've been really encouraging of that type of use in that area."

Hippler said planning is still in the early phases, but he expects that the bank will have several drive-through lanes and will consolidate some loan operations. The bank's other two branches in the Sandpoint area will remain open, he said, but this will allow the bank to serve downtown Sandpoint, as well.

"Sandpoint is an important market to us. This will give us three-cornered coverage to the market that's there," Hippler said.

Mountain West Bank operates 23 branches, including one in Spokane Valley.

Coeur d'Alene construction moving along

Commuters traveling along Northwest Boulevard in Coeur d'Alene see plenty of construction equipment at work these days.

The greatest concentration of earth movers can be found at the old Central Pre-Mix site along the Spokane River, where an old gravel pit is being filled in and re-contoured. Eventually, it will become a public park, housing and retail shops.

Turning the 80 acres into green space and suitable building sites is a massive undertaking for SRM Development of Spokane. The firm is spending about $15,000 daily on the work. By the time the earthwork is completed in late 2007, the cost will reach $8 million to $10 million, said John Stone, a principal in SRM Development, during a recent interview.

The old gravel pit will become part the Riverstone development, a "live-work-play" community along the river. Look for a tower crane to spot the Hampton Inn under construction at Riverstone. Closer to the Spokane River, a housing complex built by Marshall Chesrown's Black Rock Development is taking shape.

A parking garage, meanwhile, is under construction near Regal Cinemas. The 344-stall garage will replace some of the parking in front of the theater. It will be done later this year.

The garage will allow SRM Development to build two condo-retail buildings on part of the theater's former parking lot. The buildings will flank a new "Main Street" leading to Regal Cinemas.

Triple Play Family Fun Park updates indoor waterpark

Raptor Reef Indoor Waterpark is a bit more tropical now thanks to the recent addition of a water cleansing system that uses ultraviolet light instead of chlorine.

John Geddes, a local businessman who owns the complex, spent $100,000 to upgrade the water park, on West Orchard Avenue in Hayden.

Triple Play Family Fun Park is part of an entertainment complex with bowling and laser tag, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites and Raptor Reef, which includes a children's lagoon, indoor-outdoor Jacuzzi and three slides.

Copyright (c) 2006, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.